I’d like to call your attention to the book of “Jude.” I don’t want to take you away from walking in the wisdom of Solomon and profiting by his mistakes…I hope you will always walk in wisdom and warm your heart through David’s poetry. It is always wise to heed a warning. Jude yelled, “Don’t hit that reef!”
“Jude” is found right before “Revelation.” Why not stop and look it up right now? It is a very short letter addressed to “those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.” Notice this would include all Christians regardless of gender or position in the Church. He is not speaking only to pastors and church leaders. Jude is addressing a problem that calls for immediate instruction. He would rather be writing about the blessings of Christianity:
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).
What was his warning? He was worried about “certain people who have crept in unnoticed” (1:4). They were in the local churches (and, therefore, in the universal Church as well. They frequently are under the radar on the internet or in faith-based foundations.) His warning is that these people are dangerous.
As you know, I like boats. I keep my eye on the GPS to avoid hitting something unexpected like oyster beds or rocks or a sand bar. Being in church with people with these traits or listening to them on you-tube or the radio can be like your hitting a reef. Rocks can really do great damage, not only to the boat, but to the passengers as well. And especially if you are going fast and not paying much attention. The first step to safety is to spot those submerged rocks or coral. So Jude described them vividly with pictures we would remember.
WHAT DO DANGEROUS PEOPLE LOOK LIKE?
- They aren’t afraid of going after what they want. “…they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves” (1:12). A shepherd is suppose to take care of the sheep, but these people are out for themselves. Self-centered people are pretty easy to spot if you are active with them in a local church. It doesn’t take long before you notice they are not as interested in serving as being served. They are out for all they can get from you or your church. They might have a career path in mind or just like to get all the attention or, worse yet, have found an easy way to raise their standard of living. I knew some people like this once. It took awhile before I caught on. In the mean time, they milked us of quite a lot. Do you know anyone like that? You aren’t one of those, are you?
- They are like light and airy clouds, going where the breezes blow them (1:12). They are very trendy, going with the flow. If the culture changes, they go along with it. Watch out for these on the conference circuit or blogs on the internet. Add to this trendiness a pushy “won’t you serve me” and your suspicions should be on alert. And these fluffy clouds are not only among leadership. They float along, look great, and probably are very social.
- Then, they are like trees in late fall..no fruit, no leaves, even blown over with dead roots. They aren’t rooted in doctrinal truth, they aren’t kind, patience, joyful, (funny, maybe, or positive in a “look on the bright side” sense, but not the inner joy of the Spirit), or self-controlled. Oops. No fruit of the Spirit? They aren’t kind, patient, or self-controlled when others cross them? I once knew someone who was out for all she could get, was attractively trendy, and oh my! if you crossed her, she was not kind at all.
- They are like white-capped waves foaming along. They keep rolling along in their shameful attitudes and behavior (1:13). They don’t repent and change and so:
- They are like stars of outer space….doomed to go on in utter darkness. Look what is ahead of them if they don’t repent. It is sad.
Wow! What a graphic picture! He did not mince words, did he? Go back and read verses 12-13 for yourself. Jude wanted you to be on alert when you noticed these characteristics. I was usually more attune to noticing floating clouds and fruitless trees than my husband was. It turned out to be very helpful to John when he might have been caught off-guard. Can you pick up on people and warn your husband? Close relationships with people like this can shipwreck your soul and harm your family.
Often one aspect of scripture becomes more popular than another part. “Jude” was overlooked in my early adulthood Bible studies. I never remember hearing it mentioned. It was so important to be tolerant in those days. The popular rallying cry then was, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). (Hmmm. I wonder what self-seeking, fruitless, trendy person started this?) So I felt really guilty when I began seeing this combination of traits. But Jude would say that it is not judgmental to be on the alert. It is not judging to have your eyes wide open to danger. You aren’t the one who is divisive or without gentleness and kindness. Instead,
It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit (Jude 1:19).
Don’t be a censorious member of the local church, but don’t let your church go aground because these traits are glorified as “normal” for the Christian life. Floaty clouds, fruitless trees, and foaming waves will cause divisions at the local level. But, they can also divide from the internet, with their books, and at their conferences. Pay attention to that tingling up your spine warning you of something amiss. Don’t think your family won’t be affected when people start taking sides. Divisions in Christian circles caused by people with these traits usually don’t end well. No wonder Jude asked us to spot them.